Where You Should Be Drinking: Kirkland Tap & Trotter
Halfway between our Union Square condo and Harvard Yard, the perfect distance for an evening stroll, is Kirkland Tap & Trotter, the second restaurant by Tony Maws, chef of the famed Craigie on Main. Tap & Trotter is his ‘homestyle’ restaurant, meaning it has the atmosphere of a comfortable neighborhood pub and the menu of a neighborhood pub where the cook just happens to be a master chef. If you go for dinner, which you should, you’ll need reservations. But before the dinner hour, it’s a great place for a quiet little drink.
We started out in Tap & Trotter’s direction on one of our pleasant early evening strolls a few days ago to discover that it was about 20 degrees colder and 100% wetter out than the forecast led us to expect. We were undeterred. Even a cold, wet, rather brisk walk is worth it when Tap & Trotter’s warm welcome and good drinks are at the end of it.
What We Ordered
The Black Spot: green Chartreuse, absinthe, velvet falernum, coconut rhum, lime, jerry thomas bitters
Squash Famine: Irish whiskey, smoked butternut squash syrup, Becherovka
What We Thought
The Black Spot was a well-conceived drink, though it didn’t quite match our mood. Over crushed ice, fairly sweet, and somewhat tiki, it wasn’t exactly the drink for a dreary winter evening; but we should count that as an ordering error, not a problem with the actual drink. We loved the combination of Chartreuse, absinthe, and falernum; the falernum brought the other two together nicely, turning them both more easygoing without losing their essence. The bitters floating like a cloud in the middle of the drink didn’t add as much to the flavor as we might have expected, but they provided a nice touch to the presentation.
Unlike The Black Spot, Squash Famine did match our mood perfectly. It was also an expertly constructed drink. Irish whiskey‘s milder and fruitier flavor gave this drink a soothing effect. The drink wasn’t overwhelmingly obviously squashy, but the squash syrup did make a difference. Its subtle creaminess was drawn out nicely by the cinnamon tones of the Becherovka. In the end, it’s the same set of flavors you find in a pumpkin spice latte, but accomplished with a much lighter touch and much greater sophistication.